My Thoughts. . .
Thursday, July 18, 2019
In the previous article we looked at several passages in both Testaments concerning the differences in numbering. For example, there seems to be a contradiction between Mark 5:2 and Luke 8:27 with Matthew 8:28 over the number of men among the tombs. The answer explaining the differences lies in the purpose and people the authors are addressing. Their accounts are in harmony with their purpose.
In our fellowship, the expression, “God only has to say something once for it to be so,” is well known and usually agreed upon. This means that a statement may be found in several passages in the New Testament while a single one adds to the equation which the majority did not address. This addition appears to be a contradiction to that majority.
1) Does that mean the majority statements are acceptable, but not the minority one?
2) Does that mean the majority passages negates the lone passage that adds something they did not mention?
3) Does that mean the majority passages are essential, but the lone statement must be ignored since it doesn’t harmonize with the interpretation placed upon the majority ones?
How many times does God have to say something for it to be so?
The word “faith” is found two hundred and forty-five times. The expression “repent” only twenty-four. Does that make “faith” essential but “repentance” negligible? Wouldn’t one’s faith be void if he neglected the fewer passages on repentance? Yet, some will use that type of argumentation to reject a subject if it doesn’t fit their philosophy. Some will reject a command if it is not found each time faith is mentioned. How many times must God say something before it is so?
Have you ever been in an assembly where the presiding individual was confused and offered a prayer for the fruit of the vine first, rather than for the bread? I’ve known of folks who refused to partake because it was done “backwards.” They would return Sunday night and partake “the right way.” I’ve also known of some who accused the individual of destroying the Lord’s supper by doing it wrong. Was it done wrong? How many times must God say something for it to be so?
If a single passage outlines a different sequence than given by forty passages, wouldn’t that be God’s way of showing that process was not limited to the way some had determined the forty passages taught? In the following paragraphs Paul states this about the Lord’s supper.
CUP BEFORE BREAD: “1) The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? 2) The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 10:16 NKJV).
Notice Paul’s placement of each item: 1. The cup is mentioned first. 2. The bread is given second.
BREAD BEFORE THE CUP: “And as they were eating, Jesus 1) took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He 2) took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28),
BREAD BEFORE THE CUP: “And as they were eating, Jesus 1) took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He 2) took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.” (Mark 14:22-24).
CUP BEFORE AND AFTER THE BREAD: “Then He 1) took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And He 2) took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also 3) took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” (Luke 22:17-20).
BREAD BEFORE THE CUP: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed 1) took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also 2) took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you 1) eat this bread and 2) drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
- Is Paul and the Holy Spirit guilty of a textual error by listing the cup before the bread in 1 Corinthians 10:16?
- Is this a man-made addition in later manuscripts which are not in the earlier ones?
- Is this an example of a sequential ordering due to translating that verse from Greek into English?
- Is there evidence that 1 Corinthians 10:16 is not to be taken seriously, but 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 is because it is backed up by Matthew, Mark, and Luke?
It seems strange that Paul seemingly contradicts himself in 1 Corinthians 10:16 by remaining in harmony with Matthew and Mark in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. On the other hand, Matthew and Mark seemed to contradict Luke’s two cups by eliminating the doctor’s first one but keeping the second cup. Are Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:16 and the doctor in Luke 22:17-20 in agreement? Since Paul put a cup before the bread in 1 Corinthians 10, is Matthew and Mark contradicting him? Is this God’s way of pointing out the order we have created and made paramount, is not as important to Him as it us to us? Also, Luke’s statement is different from Matthew, Mark, and Paul’s (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), since the doctor has the first cup BEFORE the bread, and the second cup AFTER the bread. Yet, Luke and Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 10:16 is in harmony. The statement Luke connects with the first cup, Matthew and Mark assign to the second one of Luke with the tax collector and Barnabas’ nephew mentioning only one. Is there a contradiction? Are Matthew, Mark, and Paul focusing on the last cup because Jesus used it to portray his blood? Luke gives us the last two of four cups used during the Passover feast. The others leave it out, just as John completely left the entire communion out of his account. Since John omitted the Lord’s supper, would that mean the others were wrong for mentioning it? Did it mark John as the one who was wrong because he did not mention it? John did mention foot washings, but the others are silent on that action. Is John in error for substituting foot washings for the Lord’s supper? Or, is John not adding and deleting, but giving another of Jesus actions at the meal? In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul points out that we are not restricted to bread first and the cup second. He switches it and no sin is committed. It is also a warning marker against making up doctrinal rules which are not taught in scriptures!
God has to mention something only once for it to be so. Rather than ignore the differences, why not accept the thought that Paul may be showing us that when the one who presides puts the cup before the bread, he has not committed the unpardonable sin? His actions are God’s way of making us take another look at our misconceptions and recognize how easy it is to make a tradition into a law of God. It is a wake-up call that God only has to say something once for it to be so!